The Fast and the Furious film franchise has become a juggernaut at the box office. There have been eight different movies released from the franchise continuing the story for almost two decades now. The future of the franchise will see a spin-off for Hobbs and Shaw along with other plans for more movies to come in future years.
This franchise is one of the few with a proven track record going back as far as it has. Relevant stars like Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne “The Rock”, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese, Gal Gadot and many others have each played strong roles in the history of the franchise. A tremendous history of successful movies along with top superstars leads to many interesting details from behind the scenes.
We will look at some of the most interesting things about the franchise that don’t necessarily get shown on the big screen. These details showcase things about the movies and the movie stars for fans to learn more about the Furious world. Some will showcase issues that some of the actors have with each other while others will give a glimpse at some close bonds behind the scenes. There will also be the general outlook at inspirations for certain moments in the movies along with plans that never played out.
Find out more about the world of the Furious films that add another dynamic to the movies. These are twenty surprising things that really happened behind the scenes of the Fast and the Furious franchise.
20 Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster learned to drive on set
The Fast and the Furious franchise is all about driving incredible cars. However, not all the actors on the cast were known for their driving skills. Both lead actresses Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster did not even have a driver’s licenses when filming the first movie for the franchise.
Rodriguez and Brewster each attended driver’s education classes to get the proper licenses and permits. They needed the time to get this figured out before filming any scenes that involved them driving. The same would happen in 2 Fast 2 Furious for actress Devon Aoki. Hopefully, this doesn’t ruin the magic behind these actresses driving in their respective movies.
19 Tyrese was livid at The Rock for accepting spin-off movie
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has become a controversial figure compared to the rest of the cast. Quite a few stories came out about the cast taking issue with The Rock’s role in the franchise. Tyrese was the one to go public with his anger towards Johnson for making a deal for the spin-off Hobbs and Shaw film starring alongside Jason Statham.
The frustration was due to Rock coming into the franchise late and having a spin-off after the others expressed no interest in taking away from the usual Furious cast. Tyrese posted many rants on social media towards Johnson for selling out the rest of the crew, and he even broke down in tears during one of the videos.
18 Roman and Tej spinoff was discussed
One of the reasons for Tyrese’s anger at The Rock for accepting a spin-off came from his own potential spin-off. Tyrese claimed that there were plans for a Roman and Tej spin-off starring him and Ludacris, but they turned it down out of loyalty for the rest of the cast.
Ludacris would reveal a differing perspective of the story stating there was never an offer on the table. He did, however, agree that the studio approached them both with the idea. The idea even being discussed means that there was serious consideration about it. Roman and Tej are likely off the table after the release of Hobbs and Shaw as the main spin-off project moving forward.
17 First movie was inspired by a magazine article
Every great film is created from a different inspiration. Most feature a personal story or a wild idea coming to mind. The Fast and the Furious would come from neither. Rob Cohen came up with the idea for the film franchise after reading an article about street racing in a 1998 edition of Vibe Magazine.
The article looked at the illegal racing scene in Queens, New York. Cohen attended a street race in Los Angeles after reading the article and was officially set on putting this idea on the big screen. A random article in Vibe Magazine is the reason the Fast and the Furious franchise was started.
16 Created the longest runway in the world
The behind the scenes work for the Fast and the Furious movies featured lots of hard work. A lot of effort goes into creating such intricate scenes with the intense driving and potential crashes. Fast and Furious 6 featured the staff creating the longest runway in the world for a scene.
The memorable scene featured a runway of over 20 feet long. This scene lasted over thirteen minutes which led to the need for an unusually long runway. It shows just how much hard work goes into setting up the scenes before even filming them. The Fast and the Furious franchise is second to none with the amount of work needed for stunts and big scenes.
15 Vin Diesel turned down $25 million for a lead role in 2 Fast 2 Furious
One of the major reasons that 2 Fast 2 Furious did not have as much excitement and success following the first movie was due to the lack of Vin Diesel. Fans were surprised to see Tyrese unofficially replacing Diesel as the new partner of Paul Walker with a different backstory.
Diesel did not like the script to the movie and refused to agree to return in the lead role. An incredible offer of $25 million was turned down by Vin as he cared more about the role than the money here. Diesel missed this movie and passed on the huge offer due to his vision of the project.
14 Ludacris unofficially replaced Ja Rule
Another instance of someone turning down an offer to appear in 2 Fast 2 Furious is a bit more surprising than Vin Diesel’s decision. Rapper Ja Rule was a bigger star in the early 2000s and had a memorable secondary role in the first Fast and the Furious movie.
Grantland revealed that Ja Rule was offered $500,000 to return to the franchise in the second movie for a bigger role to make up for the absence of Diesel. Ja Rule turned it down believing he deserved a bigger offer. This ended the negotiations and Ludacris was cast to play Tej Parker. Ludacris ended up becoming a huge part of the Furious world while Ja Rule is struggling to make a comeback tour in 2019.
13 Fast & Furious 6 was meant to be final movie in two parts
There have been varying theories over the original plans for the Fast and the Furious franchise. Buzzfeed revealed that Fast and Furious 6 was planned as the final movie to close the story on all the beloved characters. Another twist was in play for the movie to have two parts to it.
The hope was to have two releases with The Fast as the first half and The Furious to close it out. This franchise was clearly too successfully financially for the studio to agree to end it. The idea was scrapped, and it was released as one movie. The franchise obviously continued and is still going strong today.
12 Bow Wow learned new language for Tokyo Drift scene... that was removed
The least memorable movie from the franchise so far has been the Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift film that was released third. This film was the first without Paul Walker and suffered due to the perception of it being B-list movie.
The tradition of using hip hop stars in acting roles continued when Bow Wow was cast for one of the more important roles. Bow Wow took it seriously and even learned how to speak the Japan tongue ahead of the movie. Unfortunately, the big scene where he does speak in the language did not make the cut and was removed from the final product.
11 Gal Gadot requested to do her own stunts
Gal Gadot has become a household name thanks to her incredible success in the role of Wonder Woman in the DC Extended Universe films. The portrayal of Wonder Woman is the only thing that has received critical praise from critics. Gadot is a forgotten part of the Fast and the Furious franchise.
The first Fast and the Furious film was the first film role for Gadot in her acting life. Gadot appeared in a few of the movies with the biggest role taking place in Fast and Furious 6. Part of the reason for her increased role came from her requesting to do her own stunts. Gadot was able to take part in more scenes and had a solid run before moving to bigger things.
10 Vin Diesel named daughter after Paul Walker
A cool and touching fun fact about the behind the scenes lives of the stars of the franchise features a close bond. Paul Walker and Vin Diesel became extremely close friends during the filming of multiple movies in the franchise. The passing of Walker featured Diesel sharing emotional moments about how much he loved his co-star like a brother.
One instance of Diesel’s love for Walker featured him naming his daughter after Paul. Vin would give the name Pauline to his daughter to pay tribute to his friend. The rationale for it featured Diesel revealing he wanted to keep his memory of Walker in his world in the most important way possible.
9 Sylvester Stallone's real home was used for scenes
Legendary actor Sylvester Stallone did not appear in any Fast and the Furious films, but his house did. 2 Fast 2 Furious villain Carter Verone is shown living in an incredible mansion during a few different scenes. The home of Verone in the movie is owned in real life by Stallone.
This Miami home was used for two days at the approval of Stallone with both the interior and exterior having moments filmed in the movie. Stallone likely received fair compensation for his home being used in such a big film. It is a bit surprising we did not get at least one small scene with Sly since his house was already a part of the movie.
8 MC Jin appeared in 2 Fast 2 Furious to help his rap career
The theme of hip hop playing a role in the Fast and the Furious movies is intentional given the original Vibe Magazine article creating the movie idea. Successful stars like Ludacris, Tyrese, Ja Rule and Bow Wow have all had relevant roles in different films from the franchise.
One lesser known rapper to get a spot in 2 Fast 2 Furious featured MC Jin having a short couple of scenes. Jin was the most successful freestyle rapper on BET’s 106 and Park. It landed him a record deal and a spot on the 2 Fast 2 Furious cast. This role was meant to help his rap career, but it did nothing for him as most have no idea who he is today.
7 Role was written for Denzel Washington
The Fast and the Furious films have a hit list of many respected and beloved actors and actresses. However, they have tried to get a few other stars on board that just did not express interest in the roles written for them. Denzel Washington was the biggest star to turn down a role in the franchise.
The hope was for Washington to appear in Furious 7 in an undisclosed role. Denzel turned them down, and Kurt Russell was instead put in the movie. It is unknown if this is the same role written for Washington, but he was not impressed either way. Denzel would have likely added even more success to the franchise given his star power.
6 Paul Walker's brothers honored him in Furious 7
The passing of Paul Walker left a void in the Fast and the Furious world that can never be replaced. Given he stuck around for 2 Fast 2 Furious when Vin Diesel wasn’t there, Walker was the face of the franchise for most of the movies until his passing.
Everyone wanted to honor Walker in Furious 7 after his passing. The happy ending was written for him along with a final scene of him in the form of CGI editing. Paul’s two brothers Caleb and Cody stood in for him with his face edited on their bodies. Furious 7 found the most respectful way to honor Walker in a potentially tricky situation.
5 The Rock and Vin Diesel refused to film scenes together
The Rock’s issues with Tyrese have been mentioned already, but that isn’t even his biggest beef with a fellow cast member. Vin Diesel and The Rock became rivals on the set of The Fate of the Furious. Rock’s separation from the other cast members and brokering a deal to get his own spin-off created tension.
Diesel is very protective of the Furious franchise and it led to personal issues between the two. Rock confirmed that he and Vin refused to film any scenes together. Despite claiming there was no ill will between the two, the confirmation of such reports shows there was a huge problem there. WWE rumors even circulated about a potential WrestleMania match between the two.
4 Michelle Rodriguez learned her character was alive when watching the film
Michelle Rodriguez is one of the most important and underrated members of the Fast and the Furious cast. Her character has been a fixture in quite a few films as the love interest of Vin Diesel’s character. Rodriguez was unaware of her future with the franchise after filming Fast Five.
The belief was that her character may have been written off given the story in that film. Rodriguez, however, found out with the rest of us that she had indeed survived the scene. She was not given any information ahead of the movie and realized her fate while watching it on the big screen. It was clearly the right call given Rodriguez’s roles in future films.
3 Tommy Lee Jones or Josh Brolin was supposed to have The Rock's role
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson fit in perfectly into the Fast Five story as a part of the franchise moving forward. It made sense when watching him on the big screen alongside Vin Diesel, Tyrese, and the others. This wasn’t the original plan when attempting to add a big name to the cast.
Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin were the ones the studio wanted to win over to join the team. Neither idea worked out and Rock would get selected for a new role in Fast Five. It is hard to envision either Jones or Brolin joining the Furious crew. Rock was the best choice even if things got ugly with between him and the rest of the cast a few movies later.
2 Eminem was originally discussed for Paul Walker's role
The association between hip hop and the street racing in the early Fast and the Furious movies led to many wild rumors ahead of the casting. Eminem was originally rumored to have Paul Walker’s role of Brian O’Connor heading into the first Fast and the Furious movie.
The desire to branch into acting led to many studios wanting to work with Eminem in various projects. His own film 8 Mile would be the winning idea to get his big debut. Walker would get the official casting as Brian and became arguably the MVP of the franchise. Eminem starring in the franchise may not have led to the success it ended up receiving with Walker.
1 Vin Diesel received a wild deal to appear in Tokyo Drift
Vin Diesel technically worked for free in his cameo appearance in Tokyo Drift. However, he would have an even bigger score than money for agreeing to the cameo. The studio wanted Diesel back after the momentum of the franchise regressed without him as a leading star.
Diesel would agree to return with a cameo in Tokyo Drift setting up future movies in exchange for another acting project. He worked out a deal with Universal Studios to secure the rights to his character Riddick from Pitch Black. The Chronicles of Riddick and Riddick would get made with Vin as the star and producer of the films. Between the success of the Riddick franchise and future Furious movies, this was an all-time great business move by Diesel.
References: Business Insider, Buzzfeed, Complex, Wrestling Observer, Mental Floss